Melbourne, Jan 27: Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova beat Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets here Tuesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open women's singles and kept alive her hopes of a sixth Grand Slam title.
A lot was expected of this match - the last time the two players faced off it was an absolute nail-biter in the semifinals of the French Open, and both looked very strong in their last few rounds so far in the first Grand Slam of the year.
But from the outset it was clear Sharapova was the player to beat on the day, breaking serve in the very first game of the match and, after a string of holds from both players, breaking again in the ninth game to take the first set, 6-3. Bouchard missed a backhand down the line wide on set point.
It didn't take long for the No.2-seeded Sharapova to strike again, breaking for a 3-1 lead in the second set, and a few games later she broke the No.7-seeded Bouchard one last time to close the match out.
"I knew I had to play a really complete match," Sharapova said in her post-match interview.
"She's someone who really goes after it and goes after her strokes, so I knew that the second and third balls would be really important. I knew I had to take time away from her and be aggressive. I wanted to get in the rallies a little bit, but I also wanted to do something on my own first few shots today."